Rep. Slaughter Taps $5M in House Bill for Wilmot Cancer Center Research

August 09, 2006

Rep. Louise Slaughter, second from left, has secured $5 million in a House of Representatives defense bill to support innovative cancer research. She is with University President Joel Seligman, left, Richard Fisher, M.D., director of the Wilmot Cancer Center, and Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of the Medical Center.

Rep. Louise Slaughter today announced $5 million was secured in the House of Representatives Defense Appropriations Bill to support the expansion of research at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

“The Wilmot Cancer Center has the rare distinction of improving lives globally and right here in Rochester,” Slaughter said.  “The pioneering research that goes on here could save tens of millions of lives, at home and abroad.  And, in the process, we will see jobs created and greater economic security for our workers.  For everything it does, the Wilmot Cancer Center deserves our unwavering support.”

The funds will be used to advance basic science, clinical and translational research into cures for cancer.  The Wilmot Cancer Center is expanding its programs and constructing a new state-of-the-art facility to house all cancer services and research. Leaders are nearing the mid-point of a $42.5 million comprehensive campaign to support the plans.

“The University is committed to creating a world-class facility for cancer care and research at the Wilmot Cancer Center.  Funding for innovative research is very important to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer,” said Joel Seligman, president of University of Rochester.

Researchers expect to expand research into genomics, proteomics and cancer stem cell biology with the creation of a Cancer Innovation Center using the federal funds.

 “I’m proud to say the research engine at the Medical Center is making a real difference in the fight against cancer. Scientists here developed the key component of the new vaccine to prevent HPV -- the human papilloma virus, which causes cervical cancer – the first of its kind. This new vaccine has been approved by the FDA and will save hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide every year,” said Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Vice President for Health Sciences and CEO of the Medical Center. 

Richard Fisher, M.D., director of the Wilmot Cancer Center, is anxious to see the completion of the new facility, in Spring 2008, to expand translational research and see innovations, like the HPV vaccine, come to fruition. 

“Beyond the construction of this new building, we’re investing in people,“ Fisher said. “Over the last four years, we’ve recruited 15-20 of the best doctors and scientists from around the country and brought them to Rochester to expand our clinical care and cancer research programs.  These scientists are working hand in hand with clinicians to develop better treatments that bring people with cancer closer to cures.”

The Wilmot Cancer Center has outgrown its space and is in the midst of a comprehensive campaign to construct a 163,000-square-foot., $71 million facility and expand clinical and research programs to meet the growing demand for expert care. Leaders have raised about $22 million, half of the $42.5 million comprehensive campaign goal.

The new building and programs will let more Rochester area residents with cancer stay close to home for outstanding care and accommodate the rising number of people from outside the region coming to Rochester for Wilmot’s expertise. It’s expected the new building and programs will lead to the Wilmot Cancer Center doubling its workforce, bringing the number to 1,200 employees, and create an additional 700 jobs to support the operation.

The Wilmot Cancer Center is the leader in cancer care, research and education in the Finger Lakes region. Its nurses, scientists and staff provide diagnosis and comprehensive, multidisciplinary clinical care for all forms of cancer.  With oncologists who specialize in each cancer working closely with scientists, nurses and staff, the Wilmot Cancer Center is dedicated to a single mission: to beat cancer.

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Leslie White
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